Elizabeth Warren

I happen to read Elizabeth Warren’s book, “A Fighting Chance”, this week. Let me tell you right off, the best candidate for president was not in the race in 2020. I am so impressed with Elizabeth Warren’s accomplishments and her dedication to public service that I’d start a fan club. That is, if I didn’t mind cleaning eggs and toilet paper off of my house everyday. For some bizarre reason, people around here will get up in arms to protect their oppressors. I don’t know why Elizabeth Warren brings up that emotion in some folks, but it cuts across economic lines.

Jamie Dimon, the billionaire head of JP Morgan Chase, would certainly be the leader of the mob of people hoping to remove Elizabeth Warren from any post of influence. What confounds me is how he can get people he has foreclosed on, the people Elizabeth wants to protect, to follow him. Well, they say a horse will run back into a burning barn. I guess folks like to think that the wealthy made all their riches fairly and they deserve to have Congress give them the breaks and favors they demand. I don’t see it, never have, never will. I just know if we don’t find a way to fix the system, we’ll be bailing out the rich folks again somewhere down the road.

Elizabeth’s book is about her life, which all of us with humble beginnings should identify with. The fact that she had the gumption and drive to make something of herself should serve as an example to us all. The fact that she balanced motherhood with getting an education and a career is doubly admirable. I am so impressed. Whether or not she has Indian blood in her or not, I can’t see that the question should reflect on her abilities. She was a Harvard law professor when she began her work setting up the Consumer Protection Agency. I think the Cherokees would be happy to claim a part of that bloodline.

The Consumer Protection Agency was the dream of Progressives who felt that the common man should have more protection in their dealings with the powerful corporations. The average man can’t compete with the bank’s ability to hire cadres of lawyers to decipher a mortgage closing statement developed by a cadre of lawyers wanting to obscure the advantages put in for the bankers. One of the stated goals of The Consumer Protection Agency is a mortgage statement that is one page long, in plain English. How can that be bad for the common man?

Elizabeth Warren’s rise to Senator is detailed in the book. Her Senate run comes after her rejection as Director of The Consumer Protection Agency. The “Old Guard” and the bankers felt like giving Elizabeth the power of an independent agency to wage war against the vested interests was more than they could bear. Who knows how far they were willing to go to make sure that President Obama did not appoint Elizabeth as director. Maybe a Senate seat was the swap off. Don’t know. I’m just certain that it will not prevent Elizabeth from continuing her fight for all of us. Read the book and feel better about being an American. It doesn’t all have to be “me first”!

The Battle of The Bulge

The hot, humid temperatures have decreased the people I see exercising about ten fold of late. I’ve not seen many folks on my daily walks around my neighborhood, and I try to walk twice a day, rain or shine. Either they’ve been going to a gym to do their workouts, or they have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions. If they are going to a gym to do their cardio, it’s cool. As long as they wear their mask and respect one another by wiping their sweat off of the machines. No one likes to bathe in someone else’s perspiration, or Covid breath. Well, maybe there are some that do, but they need to do it in the privacy of their own homes.

I’ve noticed that even some of the younger members of our community seem to have picked up a pound or two due during the time of Covid. Not that anybody is keeping track of such, it’s just that no one seems to be immune to weight gain. I guess there could be some people who don’t gain weight like a bird adding feathers, but they are not in evidence on my walks. Looking at the collective group of walkers today, we all seem to be about a biscuit short of blividity, and that’s concerning.

Anyway, weight gain, or loss, is one of the topics I’ve had the occasion to watch first hand, and study for a long while. I’m well aware of the fact that aging reduces the hormones that help burn calories when we’re young. Not easy too accept, but a reduction of caloric intake should offset the loss of hormones, right? I mean, if I go from two quarter-pounders with cheese, large fries and large coke for lunch to a chicken Caesar salad, I should have over compensated for the loss of hormones, right? My scales say, “no”, and not just “no”, but “heck no!” Why?

Some analysts want to point out our “sedentary” life style. They say that since folks don’t live on farms and do hard physical labor every day that that is the reason that America’s BMI is higher than Everest. I don’t see it. New York City had a population of a million people back in 1880. Were all of them blivits? Of course not. In fact, when America entered World War II there were so many potential inductees turned down for malnutrition that the school lunch program was introduced. Now, starvation is a good way to keep weight down, but I don’t think the school lunch program was the impetus for heart disease and diabetes. Ironically, it appears another government program was, though.

In 1971, Richard Nixon appointed Earl Butz his Secretary of Agriculture, and the industrialized farming of corn began. Soon every patch of dirt was growing corn, and contrary to those deeply held Republican ideas of a “Free Market”, corn prices were supported by the government. An over supply did not bring a drop in what the farmers would be paid, so they figured out more ways to over produce. The problem quickly became, what would we do with the surplus corn. Easy. Let’s make it into corn syrup, and add it to every other product that’s made. Don’t let cows or pigs range for food. Force feed them corn for quick growth. The massive usage of high fructose corn syrup, has permeated everything we eat or drink. If we eat anything that is not home grown, then HFCS will be a component of our diet.

Duke University has studied the phenomenon extensively, and has even produced charts that parallel the introduction of HFCS in our diets and the rise of obesity. Now the Duke scientists are talking about the scarring done to the liver by HFCS as being consistent with a heavy drinker. That’s double bad news for a drinker.

So while you’re doing your morning routine and asking yourself, “why won’t those pounds go away”, remember Richard Nixon fondly. I know I do.

The Dog Whistle

We all know there are sounds that are of such a high frequency that the sound is above what human ears can hear. An example of something that produces a sound that can be heard, but not by human ears, would be a “dog whistle”. Now, whoever came up with the idea of marketing a whistle that blew at such a high frequency that only dogs could hear them, was either a genius, or a really, really good salesman.

I mean the true story might be that the Ajax Whistle Factory produced a run of one million whistles that nobody could hear. Imagine all of the board members of the Ajax Whistle Factory sitting around the conference table discussing their eminent bankruptcy when one member picks up the whistle and blows it to emphasize the nature of the problem. All of the members of the board turn and look quizzically at each other except, for Mrs. Schneider, whose lapdog Shotzee is going nuts. Mrs. Schneider gets Shotzee calmed down only to have him riled up again at the blowing of the broken whistle. The Ajax Whistle Factory marketing department jumps on the opportunity to market whistles that only dogs can hear. The rest, they say, is history.

So, how the heck does a dog whistle relate to anything else, anywhere, at anytime? It seems that there is a political term that I had never heard of before that is being used to describe the Donald’s lack of response to being allied with the Klan. It’s called a “dog whistle”.

The concept here is that the people the Donald wants to get his message to, can hear the message over what the Donald is actually saying. Eventually, the Donald whined, “I disavow, I disavow”, after he had been told he’d been endorsed by David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Klan. But the rebuttal was so weak, and took so long to hit the airwaves, that the feeling is that the Donald’s real message got across. It was like the Donald was saying, “I’m with you, Klan members, but you know I have to say I’m not, to get elected”. And like the “silent” dog whistle, the Klan heard the Donald’s message above the din.

I found an excellent example of the dog whistle in Wikipedia, so I’ll just quote directly from there: “You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968, you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff.”  Now this comes from former Republican strategist Lee Atwater. Ronald Reagan used,“Cadillac-driving ‘welfare queens’ and ‘strapping young bucks’ buying T-bone steaks with food stamps”, to let his constituents know which side he stood on of the racial divide. In 2012, President Obama was accused ‘of not loving America’ by a Tea Party nut, trying to portray Obama as a Muslim.

It seems like a lot of work to come up with a phrase that will let your target audience know you’re one of them, without alienating the sane rational voters. I guess that’s why these strategists get paid millions of dollars every election cycle to come up with these concepts. Rather than listening for a “dog whistle”, maybe folks could just look a little closer at the Donald’s family tree to reveal more about his true nature. It is reported that his daddy was arrested in a Klan brawl in 1927. In the 1970’s, when the Donald was in his twenties and taking over his father’s empire, the Trumps were sued by the Federal government for violating the Fair Housing Act. They behaved for a while, and then were later sued again by the Feds when they returned to their old ways.

I mean, it’s cool to get mentioned in a Woodie Guthrie song, but not so much for being a racist. Maybe if the state of New York seizes all of his property for his assorted crimes, the Donald could use Guthrie’s, “I Ain’t Got No Home” as his campaign song. The Donald wouldn’t have to worry about blowing his dog whistles any more.